Surviving social isolation during COVID-19: The importance of a Positive Attitude

COVID-19: A positive attitude to social isolation


  • Kathleen A. Moore Federation University Australia
  • Petra Buchwald University of Wuppertal
  • Petra Begic University of Wuppertal
  • Stephane Bouchoucha Deakin University



Coronavirus, COVID-19, attitude, psychological distress, worries, coping


SARS-CoV-2, and its associated disease COVID-19, swept the globe in 2020 promoting governments to require their citizens to socially isolate in their homes to reduce its spread. Many schools, universities, and workplaces were closed. Some people worked from home, while others were left unemployed; children were home schooled often by parents in dual roles: worker and teacher. Our aim was to study people’s psychological distress during social isolation and determine whether a positive attitude towards the need for social isolation, and worries during this time, as well as behaviours with which they engaged to cope with their social isolation would predict levels of psychological distress. Four hundred and fourteen people (320 females) (M age = 37.25 years, SD= 10.88) responded to an online survey. Four scales – Attitudes to Social Isolation, Psychological Distress, COVID-19Worries, and Positive Coping Behaviours, were designed specifically for this study. Results indicate that all scales had good construct validity and internal reliability. Multiple regression analysis revealed no relationship between age or sex on psychological distress. Psychological distress was negatively predicted by a positive attitude towards social isolation while financial/political worries was a negative predictor; health worries demonstrated a tendency to negatively predict psychological distress, while positive coping behaviours were not significant. Clearly government and health department strategies enlisting people’s support for the need for social isolation and/or social distancing during this pandemic are important in ameliorating levels of psychological distress but it may be that more needs to be done to reduce financial/political worries.